Heart-Healthy Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup

12 Nov


This satisfying red lentil and vegetable soup is quick and easy to make, is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and is so fresh and healthy. A neighbor shared this recipe with me a few years ago, and it has become a staple meal Around My Home this time of year.


–1 Tbs olive oil

–4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

–1 medium onion, chopped

–1 tsp ground cumin

–1 can diced tomatoes in juice

–2 cups vegetable broth

–2 cups water

–1 cup red lentils (usually available in bulk). Tip: red lentils cook faster than any other color.

–1/4 tsp salt

–1/8 tsp black pepper

–5 oz. fresh baby spinach


Heat oil in 4 quart sauce pan. Sauté carrots and onions on medium heat for ~6-7 minutes until soft. Stir in cumin and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, broth, water, lentils, salt, and pepper and stir thoroughly. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover for ~8-10 minutes until lentils are soft. Turn off heat. Stir in spinach a little at a time. Makes ~4-6 servings. Consider serving with cornbread muffins and hard parmesan cheese.

I hope you enjoy this heart-healthy and satisfying meal around your home this season!

Antique Sideboard Gets A Modern Metallic Restoration

1 Sep



I recently transformed this antique buffet that I snagged at the local Goodwill for $10!

Here’s what it looked like when I brought it home:

Antique Sideboard Cabinet

I’m pretty sure that this lovely piece had been stored outdoors, maybe in a backyard shed. It was porous from having been exposed to high doses of humidity, and the glue on some of the ornate scrollwork had disintegrated. Sadly, I had to remove the scrollwork that remained with my putty knife, and sand the entire piece thoroughly with 80 grit sandpaper.

Note: when working on a piece this old, I wear protective safety glasses, a dust mask, an apron, and gloves, and I work outside or in my garage with the doors open. 

After sanding, I cleaned it thoroughly with TSP, then let it dry.

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From Dumpster to Home Office: DIY Chalkboard Easel

21 Aug

My son and I found this weathered and worn easel on the curb of a neighbor’s house. They had put it out for the trash pick-up. My sweet little guy has compassion for discarded furniture (wonder where he gets that from), and asked if we could rescue the piece. He envisioned transforming it into a chalkboard to practice writing his letters.

As you can see in the before pics, the easel had been sitting outside for a long, long time. The wood had mildew in some places and the whole thing was d-i-r-t-y.


I used Windex to clean it, filled in some of the cracks with caulk, and sanded away. My l’il guy helped every step of the way.


Windex works great on removing dirt and grime from wood, and the drying time is super short.


I then taped off the whiteboard surface. I knew I’d be transforming it into a chalkboard, and wanted to keep it free from any primer grit.


I typically use small, square bricks wrapped in wax paper as furniture risers. They’re sturdy, re-usable, and paint doesn’t stick to the wax paper.


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Pineapple-Coconut Protein Smoothie

22 Jul

Pina Colada Protein Smoothie

This protein-packed smoothie is a super-refreshing, cool tropical treat on hot summer days. Best of all, it’s just as healthy as it is filling.

Pineapple-Coconut Protein Smoothie Recipe

Simply blend the following ingredients in a blender on high for approximately one minute:

–1 cup coconut milk

–1 TBSP coconut oil

–1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

–1 TBSP shelled pumpkin seeds

–1 cup frozen pineapple

–1/2 frozen banana

Makes ~ one 20 oz. smoothie

TIP: Want it a little sweeter? Try adding honey and/or using vanilla yogurt.

Looking for more smoothie recipes? Click here.

To your health this summer,

Little Old Schoolhouse Chair Gets a Modern Update

26 Mar

I just finished updating this sweet little schoolhouse chair as a gift for my mom. She acquired it from the university where she retired, and has been using it as a desk chair. I was thrilled when she asked me to give her chair a new “do”, and told me to surprise her with the color!


Mom's Schoolhouse Chair



This chair is probably close to (or more than) 100 years old. The finish was not in great condition, and the structure was a little rickety. Hubsters reinforced the chair (thanks, Honey!), so it’s now much sturdier than it was.

As with some of my previous furniture projects, such as this antique vanity bench, vintage hexagonal table, and little red chair, I sanded with 180 grit sandpaper to even out the surface. After sanding and cleaning, I applied Kilz oil-based spray primer.

A note about using Kilz – it can be a bit gritty, especially in warmer weather. I just use a 220 grit sanding sponge to lightly smooth the surface after priming and before my first coat of paint.

Ahhhh….I just love the fresh, clean slate that primer provides:


I think I’ve found a new favorite spray paint: Rustoleum Painter’s Touch. It is soooooo easy to work with, and I found that the paint did not run as much as Krylon has for me in the past. It also costs much less per can than Krylon, and provides amazing coverage. I applied three solid coats, and I only used one can of spray paint!

For my mom’s chair, I chose the color “Seaside”. Here it is after three coats of paint:

Then I performed a clean-glazing technique with Tobacco glaze by Ralph Lauren. I began by applying some heavy glaze with inexpensive chip brushes, and then wiped it off with wet rags. I carefully worked the glaze into all of the cracks and crevices. Glazing tones down the vividness of a piece, and accentuates wood grain and blemishes, providing a distressed look with lots of character.


Here are some of my favorite shots of the final result!




Well, Mom, I’m delighted with this fun little makeover, and I hope you are too!

Thanks for stopping by today,

Roasted Garlic Potato Slices – Better Than Fries (Almost)!

3 Feb

Roasted Garlic Potato Slices

I had more yukon gold potatoes than I knew what to do with after making faux veal stew (I used turkey tenderloin in place of veal). I figured it couldn’t hurt to try roasted potato slices, since I frequently roast asparagus as a side dish, and make my own fresh pasta sauce with roasted tomatoes.

During dinner, Hubsters exclaimed: “I hope you’re planning to blog about these – they’re amazing!”

And my 3 year-old emphatically stated that we should have garlic potato slices for dinner every night.

What’s the magic ingredient?

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DIY Pallet Headboard

13 Jan

My friend Lori is a brilliant DIY-er and she made this amazing headboard out of wooden pallets. Lori agreed to let me feature her work on the blog today – just for you!


There are actually two pallets here – joined together by metal brackets. Lori and her husband found them at a construction site in their neighborhood and brought them home to create something amazing!

There were only two colors used, both Rustoleum products: one coat of Colonial Red paint applied with a brush, followed by one coat of Kona stain:


The stain was applied with a rag and then the surface was wiped down with a clean rag, which is sort of a “dry-glazing” technique, but with rags instead of brushes. For more tips on how to glaze furniture, visit this post.

The last step was to apply a heavy grit sandpaper to give the piece a weathered-looking finish:


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